Why it matters: Apple has high expectations for its top-tier iPhone 15 Pro Max handset due out next month. According to respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the Cupertino-based company expects the high-end handset to account for around 35-40 percent of initial iPhone 15 series shipments. That'd be 10-20 percent higher than the number of iPhone 14 Pro Max units shipped at launch last year.

Should everything go according to plan, the iPhone 15 Pro Max – Apple's most expensive model – will have the highest share among the four new models set to debut in September.

Apple reserves its latest and greatest tech for its most expensive devices, and it's clear that the strategy is already paying off. The iPhone 14 Pro Max was the most-shipped smartphone in the first half of 2023 according to British analytics firm Omdia's Smartphone Model Market Tracker.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to be Apple's first handset to include a periscope-style camera system, which will give the phone an extended optical zoom range. The current iPhone 14 Pro Max has a maximum optical zoom of just 3x, but a periscope system could extend this to around 5x-6x. Another rumor suggests the periscope system will eventually trickle down to the standard Pro tier, but not until next year.

According to Kuo, the periscope components are about 3-4x more expensive than a traditional high-end camera lens system. The higher component cost, along with other premium features, could help Apple justify a rumored price increase of at least $100 at the top end.

Apple is widely expected to announce the iPhone 15 series in mid-September, perhaps on the 12th. Should that date prove accurate, we'd likely see pre-orders open a few days later ahead of general availability the following week on September 22.

In addition to a faster A17 Bionic SoC on the Pro models, the new phones are also said to include stacked battery technology, enhanced Apple Vision Pro integration, and USB-C connectivity. New color options are also a possibility, as blue and coral are rumored to be the new shades on offer this year.

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